Los Angeles — It wasn't quite the Red Wedding, but Thursday brought viewers news of more than a dozen prime-time shows being axed to make room for new programmes next season.
ABC took the sword to seven series (including country music drama Nashville and veteran whodunit Castle) while Fox is sacrificing five freshman shows, including comedies starring aging pretty boys Rob Lowe and John Stamos.
Meanwhile, CBS is deleting CSI: Cyber after this, its sophomore season, thus laying to rest the CSI dynasty that encompassed four series during a 16-year span.
The official body count — as well as new programming blood for the 2016-2017 season — will be rolled out next week at the networks' "upfront" sessions for advertisers.
But through a combination of network leaks and networks jumping the gun, a flood of announcements got early exposure on Thursday.
The sourest note came from axing Nashville
Perhaps the sourest note came from ABC with word that it's canceling Nashville after four seasons. Never a ratings hit, that series enjoyed a loyal following, especially in Music City, where the show was filmed.
The network's decision drew an immediate lament from Nashville's mayor, Megan Barry, who in a statement called the news "incredibly disappointing." She said the state of Tennessee and Nashville were prepared to support production in the city for a fifth season.
Castle, which debuted in 2009, was still a reliable ratings performer. It was announced last month that co-star Stana Katic was exiting, but Nathan Fillion, who plays Castle, had tweeted in vain that he hoped the show would continue for years despite her departure.
In addition, freshman series The Family has also been yanked, as has The Muppets, for which a wealth of long-time affection for Miss Piggy and its other characters failed to translate into viewership.
The cancellations follow a recent shake-up in the network's executive ranks, with ABC Entertainment Group President Paul Lee replaced by Channing Dungey.
Fox is dumping comedies Grandfathered (starring Stamos) and The Grinder (starring Lowe) as well as midseason entry Minority Report.
The news wasn't all grim
At ABC, Scandal producer Shonda Rhimes is collaborating with William Shakespeare on a period drama about the aftermath of the deaths of young lovers Romeo and Juliet.
Still Star-Crossed will become Rhimes' fifth series at ABC. Along with Scandal, her ShondaLand company produces Grey's Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder and The Catch.
The Catch, which hasn't made the ratings splash of Rhimes' other shows since its recent premiere, will return for a second season, ABC said.
Supergirl is landing at CW for its second season after debuting last year on CBS. It's a good fit for CW, currently home to three other superhero shows: The Flash, Arrow and DC's Legends of Tomorrow.
All are from prolific producer Greg Berlanti, who has placed yet another show at CW for next season, Riverdale.
Based on the Archie Comics characters, Riverdale was described by the network as a present-day "surprising and subversive take" on Archie, Betty, Veronica and their friends. Lili Reinhart, Cole Sprouse and Luke Perry are among the stars.
Local crime drama Cape Town, is like the bad reality show Clifton Shores, with even worse acting.
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